Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend – in collaboration with the Screen Rant Underground podcast Box Office Battle – to offer readers a rough estimate of how new releases (and returning holdovers) will perform in theaters.

For a recap of last week’s box office totals, read our box office wrap-up from Prisoners opening weekend – and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our previous picks measured up.

Full disclosure: Box office predictions are not an exact science. We acknowledge that our picks may not always be correct. For the sake of offering a jumping off point for discussion, here are our picks for the weekend of September 27th – September 29th, 2013.

This weekend, the romantic comedy Baggage Claim opens in 1,800 theaters, animated sequel Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 debuts in over 3,800 theaters, comedy Don Jon opens in 2,200 theaters, and the sports drama Rush hits 2,200 theaters. Metallica: Through the Never opens in an unspecified limited release.

#1 – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

Our choice for the top spot is the animated sequel Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. The first film in this new franchise grossed $30.3 million during its opening weekend (good enough for first place) en route to a $124.8 million domestic total back in 2009. While there’s some question as to how lucrative the second movie can be – due to the four-year gap between installments, it’s still a safe bet for number one this weekend, as it is the first new family-oriented film to hit theaters in over a month.

#2 – Rush

Coming in second should be Ron Howard’s Formula 1 racing drama Rush. Formula 1 racing is not the most popular sport in the States, but there are several other elements that could propel the film to box office success. Star Chris Hemsworth – who has been heavily featured in marketing – is very recognizable thanks to his role as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and director Ron Howard (Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code) has a handful of sizable hits under his belt.

Rush premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month and early reviews have heavily praised the film. That positive word-of-mouth could entice moviegoers to check out this awards hopeful.

#3 – Prisoners

Look for last week’s champ Prisoners (read our review) to fall into third this week. The drama won last weekend by grossing a respectable $20.8 million. Due to the competition from Rush, it should see its numbers fall a bit, but because of extremely positive word-of-mouth (from both audiences and critics) and some awards buzz for Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, this film could have strong legs at the box office.

#4 – Don Jon

This week’s other major release, Don Jon, is our pick for the fourth spot. This unconventional romantic-comedy is directed by and stars one of Hollywood’s rising talents, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt has seen his profile expand in the last few years with his turns in Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, but he has not yet carried a film to massive success on his own. Last year’s Looper made only $66.4 million and his indie fare (500 Days of Summer, 50/50) were critically lauded, but failed to have an impact at the box office.

The film’s subject matter could make it a difficult sell and there are other well-received films for adults currently playing, which could ultimately hurt Don Jon’s chances at being a breakout hit.

#5 – Insidious: Chapter 2

Coming in fifth should be James Wan’s horror sequel, Insidious Chapter 2 (read our review). The film took a massive hit last week, falling 65.7% in its second weekend. Having a monopoly on the horror market will still make it an appealing option for fans of the genre, but it seems as if most moviegoers have moved on.

#10 – Riddick

Our number ten tiebreaker this week is Riddick (read our review). The sci-fi sequel finished last weekend in eighth place.

Notes:

We do not expect Baggage Claim to crack the top five. Opening in just 1,800 theaters (the lowest out of all the new wide releases) will limit its opening numbers. Casual moviegoers may recognize Paula Patton from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, but she is not a bonafide movie star capable of leading a film to big opening numbers. It seems unlikely it will be able to contend with the competition.

That’s it for this week’s breakdown.

Now, if you want to participate in the weekly Box Office Battle, it’s time for you to make your picks! In the comments section below, post what you think will be the top five movies this weekend at the box office as well as your own number ten tiebreaker. Then, tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the results and find out who won.

Opening in theaters this week (Wide):

  • Baggage Claim – 1,800 theaters
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – 3,800+ theaters
  • Don Jon – 2,200 theaters
  • Rush – 2,200 theaters

Opening in theaters this week (Limited):

  • Metallica: Through the Never – Unspecified

Box Office Battle Scoring Rules: You get three (3) points for each direct match with the weekend actuals and one (1) point for each movie placed within one spot of the exact position. A perfect score is 15 points. Tie-breakers are not worth any points but, in the event of a tie, the person with a tie-breaker selection closest to the number 10 spot will be awarded the win.

Last Week’s Official Box Office Battle Reader Winner (Prisoners opening): Sal reports that The Jones is the winner with 12 points.

For the record, here are our picks from last week – along with the corresponding amount of points we received for each pick (listed in parenthesis).

  • #1 – Prisoners (3)
  • #2 – Insidious Chapter 2 (3)
  • #3 – The Family (3)
  • #4 – Battle of the Year (1)
  • #5 – Riddick (0)
  • #10 – Planes
  • Final Score: 10 points and a perfect tiebreaker

Make sure to check back later this week for the official box office results and tune into the Screen Rant Underground podcast for the weekly winners!

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90

Source: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule)